Lloyds: UK firms most confident in four yearsBritish business confidence reached its highest level in more than four years in August, according to a poll by Lloyds Bank. Lloyds’ monthly business barometer rose by 6 percentage points to +36%, the highest since April 2017, while optimism in the economy rose by six percentage points following a dip in July. More than a third of the 1,200 companies surveyed by Lloyds predicted they would offer staff pay rises of at least 2% over the next 12 months and 17% anticipated wage growth of at least 3%. The poll also saw 44% of companies say they expect to increase the prices they charge, the highest proportion since December 2017. Lloyds economist Hann-Ju Ho said: “Staff shortages remain a challenge but as the economy moves back towards pre-pandemic levels we can be optimistic that the momentum for business confidence and economic optimism can be sustained in the months ahead”.